We rarely read anything positive about stress. In the fitness industry, stress is also where growth happens. To become fitter we have push ourselves a little harder, adding either a bit more intensity or length to cardio session. Muscle gets stronger when we lift a heavier weight or perform more repetitions. We add a wee bit of stress to the body.
However the rest and refuel aspect of fitness is just as important. Muscles need rest to repair and the right foods to support this. Stretches help maintain the optimal length of the muscles.
We need to employ the same approach with any other else that is stressful. Are we getting adequate rest, and are we following the basics of a healthy eating plan? What are we doing to balance out? These are often simple elements that we dismiss and overlook as unimportant, but are the foundations of maintaining healthy stress levels.
There is often a disconnect when you are stressed as these hormones are designed to keep you moving. Rather than listening to what our body needs we listen to our brains. Stopping to smell the roses is a dangerous thing, as you do not know what is behind the rose bush!
Stress is not always the enemy it is how we deal with it that is the problem. Relearning how to relax as an adult in your 40s is quite challenging. However, it is a deliberate practice that we need, rather than thinking we can keep going in a relentless fashion.
Writing and publishing my book The Menopause Diaries was one of the most stressful things I have done. However, it taught me a lot about myself, self care and how to support the creative process. ‘Resting’ my book was a big part of writing. I would go back to sections a week later with fresh eyes and inspiration that you do not get when you keep your nose to the grindstone! Growth is messy but as human beings we always need to be growing.
In our menopausal years, we become more sensitive to both stress and sugar. These are hormones cortisol and insulin. Both are massive affected by the way we live our lives and they affect our health by expanding our waistline and keeping our bodies on high alert.
Back in the day, Sunday used to be a day of rest. Nowadays our Sundays are jam packed with activities there is no time to rest. Easy like Sunday morning is one of my favourite songs but it can be hard to do as it can feel lazy or a waste of the day staying in our pjs all Sunday morning.
What can you do today to change how you deal with stress? We can easily change our mood with music and movement such as getting up and going for a walk. You get bonus points for doing them together.
Can you take your Sunday back, Easy like Sunday morning? I prefer the Faith No More version you can listen to it here!
Samantha Valand is the author of “The Menopause Diaries: A practical guide to healthy eating and exercising in your menopausal years”. You can find out more about her book here.